An evergreen shrub 10 ft high, of bushy habit; leaves oblong-ovate, rounded at the apex, slightly cordate at the base, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. wide, dull grey-green above, pale and rather glaucous beneath, glabrous at maturity on both surfaces; stalk 1 to 11⁄4 in. long. Flowers in a terminal truss of six to eight. Calyx shallowly seven-lobed, glandular-downy like the flower-stalk. Corolla widely funnel-shaped, seven-lobed, 2 in. deep, 21⁄2 in. wide, pale rose or purplish pink, often with deeper spots on the upper side. Stamens twelve or fourteen, glabrous, about half as long as the corolla, white with brown anthers. Style longer than stamens, glabrous; ovary glandular. Bot. Mag., t. 8736. (s. Fortunei ss. Oreodoxa)
Native of W. Hupeh and E. Szechwan at 6,500 to 9,500 ft in mixed woods or with conifers and birches, or forming thickets on exposed slopes and mountain tops; discovered by the French missionary Farges between 1891 and 1894 and introduced by Wilson in 1901 from W. Hupeh. According to him, it is extremely floriferous in the wild, sometimes flowering so abundantly that the bushes exhaust themselves and die. This is also true of the cultivated plants. It is very closely allied to R. oreodoxa (q.v.) and has the same value in gardens; it differs in its glandular ovary and relatively broader leaves.
Award of Merit March 9, 1926, when exhibited by Gerald Loder, Wakehurst Place, Sussex (flowers pale rosy pink, spotted); also to clone ‘Budget Farthing’, April 15, 1969, shown by Lord Aberconway and the National Trust, Bodnant, Denbigh.
R. erubescens Hutch. – Near to R. fargesii, differing in the larger leaves with the midrib and lateral veins impressed above, and in the hairy filaments of the stamens. Described from a plant raised from seeds collected by Wilson in China. Uncommon in cultivation. Bot. Mag., t. 8643.